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Your 8 Step Self-Care Holiday Survival Guide

The holiday season is finally upon us.

As much as this time of year can be magical in so many ways, for a migraine or headache sufferer, it can sometimes prove quite challenging. With extra added pressures, social gatherings galore and more family time that may be welcomed, it’s super important to still prioritize yourself in all of the holiday madness.

Hence why here at Head Health we have come up with a quick 8 step self-care survival guide to help you through the holiday season.

1. It’s ok to say no

 At this time of year, your social calendar can tend to go into overdrive, leaving you feeling overwhelmed and under pressure. As there will be so much going on it’s unlikely that you will be able to attend all events/social gatherings so accept the ones you feel comfortable with and politely turn down the others. Never feel bad for saying no, your health always comes first.

2. Be realistic

As much as we want to participate in all Christmas has to offer, be realistic in what you can accomplish. Take some time to manage your diary and work out a schedule that works for you, not for those around you and what they expect of you. Check in with yourself and find a balance that makes you feel comfortable.

3. Release your shoulds, haves, and musts

With the added pressure at Christmas, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. “I should go and see Aunty Sue today,” “I have to feel ok for the work’s party tonight” and “I must make sure I get the perfect present for Grandpa Bill.” These are simply cognitive distortions, that if built up could cause you anxiety and tension thus potentially resulting in a headache. Instead, try taking the pressure off yourself and reframe by saying “I would like to…”. Nothing HAS to be done.

4. Ask for help

If the present buying or food shopping all becomes too much, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for support to help take the load off you. Lean on those family and friends that are around you, even if it’s just for those little chores. Christmas shouldn’t be stressful after all, so don’t try and be superwoman/man and hold down the fort all by yourself.

5. Remove expectations and don’t expect perfection

We all imagine Christmas in our head as this magical time that looks like something out of one of those cheesy Christmas movies. This is not a reality. The chances are that your Aunt Sally may burn the turkey, a family argument may break out, or you might suffer from a migraine or a headache. This is ok, nothing in life is perfect, and Christmas is no different so let it go and allow Christmas to unfold naturally. It is what it is.

6. Remember your basics

As much as it can be tempting to devour the whole yule chocolate log or hibernate in your Christmas comfy pants for the whole holiday period while not once seeing the outdoors, don’t forget the basics that keep your body healthy and in balance. It may be going for a daily walk, your morning green juice or just sticking to your bedtime routine. Whatever it is, remember your health basics. They will keep you grounded and feeling your best during this time.

7. Schedule in self-care

Just as you are going to schedule in your family Christmas party, ice skating with friends and hot chocolate catch-ups with your niece and nephews, schedule into your diary some time for self-care. Allocate time blocks in your planner for downtime, meditation, journaling, reading, or just some time to be by yourself. That way, if it’s planned ahead of time, you are more likely to make it happen.

8. Know the menu in advance

If you are traveling to a relatives house, be sure to ask ahead what will be on the menu. This can be one of the easiest tasks to avoid getting a headache. If there is a particular trigger that is being served, this can give you enough time to plan and cook accordingly. It may be frustrating at the moment to have to bring your own food; however, you will have decreased your chances of being triggered!


Happy Holidays from everyone here at Head Health. Wishing you health and happiness throughout the holiday season.

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